The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is being released in four parts between September 2013 and November 2014. What has become available is the summary for policy makers, a 36 pages pdf. It does not include detailed predictions for different world regions, but it is an interesting reading (albeit a very technical one)
Someone told me once: you see, they have built this post, but they have forgotten all the other and the beams… sure, the Paris sky would feel different, now we have become used to see this post, rather lone, but what a view we would get in the morning coming to work! (sure, the comment of a commuter that always thinks there is one freeway lacking…)
The built up elements base of the Paris municipality ommits the Eiffel tower, but you can see clearly the palaces on Chaillot hill, on the Trocadero esplanade opposite it, the Palais de Tokyo and the Quai Branly museum. To the southwest, the maison de la Radio and the front de Seine mini- skyscrapers are also clearly visible.
Rue du Faubourg St Antoine, where the Place de la Bastille marks the transformation of the big east-west axis of Paris to loose all clues of a straight layout. Less monumental, but by no means uninteresting, for many reasons. The Opera Bastille, on the homonymous square, marks the western access; it is one of the most massive buildings in the neighborhood. Often, the bigest buildings are recen ones (appartments in Place Aligre, or the underground sports center designed by Maximiliano Fuksas on Rue de Candie). There is some sort of uniformity despite the rather popular personality of the area and its lack of homogeneity when it comes to building heights. to the south you can visit the coulée verte, an earlier version of New York’s high line (Opera Bastille was the site of a station) and sometimes you find surprises as the gardens of Cité Prost. Coutyards and alleys, too small to be well recognized in this map, are interesting, being a trace of what was the past of the area as a retail and small bussiness hub.
Here is an interesting part of Paris. To the East you can see St Sulpice church, a high example of French classical architecture; with some 17.000 sq m of built surface, a grand and complex monument. The urban tissue is quite dense, with a rather irregular street pattern. Boulevard Raspail somehow blurs the legibility of that area in the XIXth century; city blocks west of that line, with so few buildings, are in fact baroque palaces, mainly along the Rue de Babylone. On the same Rue de Babylone, at Place Le Corbusier (!), close to Boulevard Raspail, you have a quite dense building: Le Bon Marché, a pionneer department store, which I think is even more interesting as architecture than the ones around Opera Garnier. I even worked there for a week under the roofs, in an architectur practice. With some 34.000 sq m of built up area, a building worth visiting.
Here we have most of the iconic Paris elements. The Louvre, at the center, is a large museum that has indeed a sizeable energy use as it receives thousands of visitors a year and requires strict conservation measures for its art treasures. On the central- nothern part the Opera Garnier is another big energy user, also surrounded by massive buildings. The Musée d’Orsay or the Centre Pompidou are also visible, but the biggest spot is the Grand Palais, at the begining of the Champs Elysees, to the west. A giant greenhouse, it is a relevant building in the urban landscape, and also potentially a big energy and ressources user. In this dense area, in which streets seem carved out of a giant block, the river Seine and the Tuileries gardens are the biggest open spaces, linked to the begining of the Champs Elysées and the Esplanade des Invalides.
This is a map of Paris in which the darker colors represent the higher built-up areas in buildings, according to Paris open data. This is not a building density map (you can have a big building surrounded by a large park, so density would be reduced), but rather, following what was in the last “biblio” about climate change in Paris, a map of big energy bills. So during the next days this will be the issue: big buildings, which in turn mean big energy and ressources consumers under a single management, which means (perharps) chances to go greener.
The Plan Local d’Urbanisme (PLU) is the main plan for the city of Paris. This document explores he current state in Paris of the different elements that must be adressed regarding climate change in urban planning. An interesting work on urban information.
Parking Day 2013 has just been held around the world. Chances are you probably never heard about it: people occupy for some time during the day what usually is a parking space, turning it into a public, green space of some sort. There have been several variations, the simplest one beeing that you insert a coin i a parkmeter and simply use what is suposed to be a space for a car to, instead, park some green elements, or even just a green rug, just to make people think about how much of the urban space is devoted to cars.
Among other blogs, I do follow africanurbanism.net, a site in which Victoria Okoye gives a vision of what urbanism is in Accra (Ghana), a very different context to the one in which I live; or rather, in a very different context to the one that the place in which I live is experiencing nowadays, as many of the things she writes about seem quite connected to what any european country probably experienced during the transition from rural to urban societies. In a certain way, she forces us readers to think about what urbanism really is, as connected to solving the needs of citizens.
So, they had this project in a Car Park in Accra, which was conceived before thinking of Parking Day. Sure, it is an ephemeral thing, but it involved a lot of planning: convincing the site owner, bringing all the tyres and the rest of the elements, integrating some community participation… Has this meant something for the residents? I think that only time can tell, but trying is already much more than what many do. So congratulations, Victoria and your bunch of people!
According to the 2011 census, in London there were data on the education of 6.549.000 people. 1.152.000 of those had no qualifications whatsoever, while 2.470.000 had level 4 (first year of university) or above qualifications. As before, it is interesting to see how these conditions are distributed around the geographical space.